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Podcast: A Quick Catch-Up, Drink Shop Do and #TeamNice

Just a short episode this week with Kate, as we’ve got lots to do preparing for Essex Book Festival, which launches on 1st March 2015 – hear about the events Kate and Rob are chairing, our trip to Drink Shop Do, Kate’s project #TeamNice and what she’s been reading lately. (more…)

Speakeasy Presents 10 for ’15, at Drink Shop Do

On Tuesday 17th February, Rob and I were very pleased to be invited by Will of Vintage to head along to Drink Shop Do, on Caledonian Road near King’s Cross in London, to Speakeasy Presents 10 for ’15 – ten novelists (including two of Vintage’s authors) reading from their latest book. It gave us all a sneak preview of what the books were like, and a chance to catch up with some of our bookish buddies too.

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Shelf Help Review: Nature Cure by Richard Mabey

In the last year of the old millennium, Richard Mabey, Britain’s foremost nature writer, fell into a severe depression. The natural world – which since childhood had been a source of joy and inspiration for him – became meaningless. Then, cared for by friends, he moved to East Anglia and he started to write again. Having left the cosseting woods of the Chiltern hills for the open flatlands of Norfolk, Richard Maybe found exhilaration in discovering a whole new landscape and gained fresh insights into our place in nature.

Structured as intricately as a novel, truthful, exquisite and questing, Nature Cure is a book of hope, not just for individuals, but for our species. (more…)

Shelf Help Review: Far from the Tree – Parents, children and the search for identity by Andrew Solomon

Sometimes your child – the most familiar person of all – is radically different from you. The saying going that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But what happens when it does?

Drawing on interviews with over three hundred families, Andrew Solomon documents ordinary people making courageous choices. Difference is potentially isolating, but Far from the Tree celebrates repeated triumphs of human love and compassion to show that the shared experience of difference is what unites us.

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Shelf Help Review: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson

In 1985 Jeanette Winterson’s first novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, was published. It was Jeanette’s version of the story of a terraced house in Accrington, an adopted child, and the thwarted giantess Mrs Winterson. It was a cover story, a painful past written over and repainted. It was a story of survival.

This book is that story’s silent twin. It is full of hurt and humour and a fierce love of life. It is about the pursuit of happiness, about lessons in love, the search for a mother and a journey into madness and out again. It is generous, honest and true. (more…)

Shelf Help Review: The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz

This book is about learning to live.

In simple stories of encounter between a psychoanalyst and his patients, The Examined Life reveals how the art of insight can illuminate the most complicated, confounding and human of experiences.
These are stories about our everyday lives: about the people we love and the lies we tell; the changes we bear, and the grief. Ultimately, they show us not only how we lose ourselves but how we find ourselves too. (more…)